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South Washington County School Board candidates bring varied backgrounds

The top five candidates for a spot on the District 833 School Board all have had some involvement with South Washington County Schools but would bring widely varying backgrounds to the position.

The applicants being interviewed later this week include a professional at 3M-Cottage Grove; a security and building property official involved in Cottage Grove youth sports and Park High School athletics; a former School Board member with school staffing and volunteer experience; a college English instructor who has conducted staff training in District 833 schools; and a teacher who directs education programs for the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

School Board members are set to interview five of the 14 applicants during a special meeting Friday, Jan. 4. The special board meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 5:45 p.m. at the District Service Center. Each candidate will be interviewed by the board for about a half-hour.

Board members could vote on an appointment immediately following the interviews.

The appointment will fill a seat held by Leslee Boyd, who stepped down to move out of state with her family. The appointed member will serve until the Nov. 5 election, when voters will elect someone to complete the remaining two years of Boyd's term.

Four four-year board seats also will be on that ballot. The candidates picked for interviews are:

Richard Goeke

Goeke, of Cottage Grove, is a manufacturing manager at 3M's film production plant in Cottage Grove. He has worked for 3M in Cottage Grove for about 12 years, according to his resume, and has master's degree in manufacturing systems.

Jonathan Hunt

Hunt is education director for the Minnesota Department of Corrections and a former special education teacher and school administrator. The Woodbury resident's current job includes supervising the Corrections Department's Adult Basic Education staff, paraprofessionals, library and other staff, his resume shows. Hunt was a full-time special education teacher from 2006 to 2009 at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and held education jobs prior to that work. He has a master's degree in education and an administrative license. He served on the District 833 Curriculum Advisory Committee from 2005-08.

Katie McElwee-Stevens

McElwee-Stevens is no stranger to District 833. The Newport resident served on the School Board from 2006-07, works as a paraprofessional at Newport Elementary School and has volunteered in four District 833 schools - Newport Elementary, Woodbury and Oltman middle schools and East Ridge High School - and served on a number of districtwide committees. She currently serves on the Newport Planning Commission and was a candidate for Newport City Council last year. Her resume includes a variety of community volunteer work, including with Cottage Grove and Newport youth sports.

Daryl Parks

A Woodbury resident, Parks is an assistant professor of English education at Metro State University and has done consultant work and staff development for St. Paul and Mounds View public schools as well as at Crosswinds, the East Metro Integration District school in Woodbury. Parks conducted diversity and integration staff presentations at three District 833 schools between 2006 and 2010. He has served on a number of curriculum and testing committees for the Minnesota Department of Education. He has a doctorate in education and participated in the Holocaust Education Teacher's Program in Poland and Israel in 2009.

William Thurmes

Thurmes, of Cottage Grove, is property manager of US Bank Center in St. Paul, a position he's held since 2006. Prior to that Thurmes was assistant vice president for American Security, overseeing 300 security officers and accounts that included the Mall of America and Marathon Petroleum. Thurmes served as treasurer of the Crestview Elementary School PTA and is vice president of the Park High School wrestling booster club board of directors. He also served on the Cottage Grove Athletic Association baseball board of directors.

The five candidates were picked from a pool of 14 applicants that also included Sue Berthiaume, Richard E. Hanson, Mike Heavner, Steve Lagoon, Marisa Novak, Joe Ryan, Katie Schwartz, Lisa Vaske and Stacey Vogele.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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